Canadian military to get more

This story is sourced from Flight International
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Canada's armed forces are to get an extra C$1.9 billion ($1.3 billion) over the next three years as part of the budget for this year unveiled on 28 February.

The extra money will enable the Canadians to start a long-awaited competition to acquire 28 maritime helicopters to replace ageing Sikorsky CH-124 Sea Kings, as well as to upgrade Boeing CF-18 fighters, Lockheed CP-140 maritime-patrol aircraft and Lockheed MartinC-130 Hercules transports. Replacement of the ageing C-130s is also an option (Flight International, 29 February-6 March).

Defence minister Art Eggleton says he expects to announce a Sea King replacement programme "soon". The defence budget will reach C$9.6 billion in the year starting 1 April - still less than the C$12 billion annual budget inherited by the administration in 1993.

The Canadian Defence Industries Association says the military has a long way to go to acquire all the equipment it needs to keep pace with its allies.

Ottawa has been criticised by its allies during the past year for failing to provide a budget to let it meet international military and peacekeeping obligations. Equipment and aircraft failures also forced Canada to pull out of the Kosovo peacekeeping mission.